The Dwarves and its sequel The War of the Dwarves by Markus Heitz were very good fantasy books. Heitz created a very detailed world with mystery, political intrigue, and a group of races (dwarves, humans, and elves) that don’t get along anymore, including the separate human and dwarf kingdoms. Heitz, of course, focuses on the dwarves. He explains things to the reader through the main character’s (Tungdil’s) ignorance of dwarves, even though he is a dwarf, but a dwarf who grew up with humans. Thus we get an interesting character in Tungdil, a dwarf who becomes known as “scholar” because of his knowledge but who must learn the ways of other dwarves such as fighting with an ax and dwarven customs.
The first book takes us on a tour of much of the world and many of the dwarf kingdoms where we meet new characters and learn of the good races’ common enemies, namely the orcs and dark elves. What starts out as a journey of discovery takes us through a fight for the dwarven throne, a mission to save the world, and a confrontation of a great evil, with many battles in between. By the end of the story we have learned much, but some mysteries remain including an event at the end of the book that sets up the sequel.
The second book was good, but not as good as the first. My main complaint is that Heitz seemed to have too many ideas on what be wanted to explore, but decided to fit them all into one volume. Some things don’t seem to get a good explanation while others feel forced, with a great many things handled near the end all in one fell swoop. Also Heitz seems to rush through certain plot items a bit fast before we really get to enjoy them. This is not to say the author did not have some great ideas to explore, only that I would have liked a longer book or another book to really enjoy some of his interesting storylines.
All in all though these dwarf books are a great read. I found myself having difficulty putting them down. Highly recommended.